Welcoming Remarks for Korea America Year-End Friendship Night

Robert Rapson, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, U.S. Embassy Seoul,
Robert Abrams, Commander of UNC/CFC/USFK and Mrs. Abrams,
Former Minister of National Defense Kim Dong-shin and Mrs. Kim,
General Choi Byung-hyuk, Deputy Commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command and Mrs. Choi,
Distinguished guests from U.S. Embassy and key staffs of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command,
Our active event sponsors and members of the Korea America Friendship Society,
Ladies and gentlemen!

The eventful 2019 is drawing to a close. I would like to thank all of you for attending the tonight’s event to wrap up this year at a very busy time. I wish you a Merry Christmas and blessed new year.

Ladies and gentlemen!
In this time of sharing virtue and blessings, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is being threatened the peace by North Korea’s nuclear ambition and constant missile tests, so it is just the time that the strong alliance and combined readiness posture of ROK and U.S. is desperately required to cope with the situation and is also being tested and challenged in the same time.

First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation and high praise for Ambassador Harry Harris of the U.S. Embassy to Seoul, and Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Rapson who is here as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim on behalf of the Ambassador. They are doing their best to strengthen and develop the ROK-US alliance, despite the prevailing uncertainty and turbulent situation.

Ladies and gentlemen!
Please give a big applause and thank to Robert Rapson, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim!

And at this time, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and utmost belief to Commander Robert Abrams of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command and his soldiers who are devoting themselves to deter North Korea’s war provocations and protect the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by maintaining the utmost combined readiness posture day and night.

Ladies and gentlemen! Please send a warm round of applause to Commander Robert Abrams.

The ROK-U.S. alliance has been an unprecedented success in a world that has preserved peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula which we fought together and blood-pledged in the Korean War. The ROK-U.S. alliance is not just an alliance, but a blood alliance, and we have further strengthened our relationship by fighting together in the Vietnam and the Middle East War.

Nevertheless, there were many challenges and hardships because of the unfortunate incidents, and was challenged more than just hardship by the changes in the surrounding circumstances, the different situation between the two countries and the antagonists who tried to drive it apart. But we have wisely overcome these challenges and hardships.

Thereby, we have become more reliable and stronger allies. The challenges and hardships we face now are also formidable. Those are the continuing North Korean nuclear ambition, the GISOMIA issue, and the Special Measure Agreement(SMA) issue, etc.

– The North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved in a CVID manner.
– The GISOMIA must be maintained.
– The SMA must be successfully agreed upon by the two countries’ wisdom

I’m confident that we will successfully overcome the current hardships and challenges. The reasons are the followings.

First, we have a common goal and value to protect free democracy to develop a market economy and achieve peaceful unification in this land.

Second, We trust our 70 years of successful experience and history.

Third, there is an absolute majority of the people who support these precious values, goals, and experiences absolutely.

We now constantly shout “Let’s go together” to keep our common values and goals and to inherit 70 years of successful experience and history.

We, Korea America Friendship Society, will take the lead in making this effort with you. In the sense of determination, Everyone! Please give a big round of applause.

Tonight, we prepared this party to cement the resolve of the two peoples and to ensure unity. Please enjoy the tonight’s event, dinner, good company and performance.

I sincerely thank all the sponsors who have supported for tonight’s event. In particular, I would like to thank Chairman Park Jung-soo and all the members of the Preparation Committee for the event.

I wish all of you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Let’s shout “Let’s go together.” “Kachi-Kapshida!

Thank you.